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Attacking To The Left And The Middle: Reviewing Oklahoma's Offensive Game Plan Against Florida State

Oklahoma's fans were hoping for another blowout but the team was ready for a slug-fest and that's exactly what they got. The Sooner offense scored, sputtered and stalled Saturday night but the end result was 23 points, 20 first downs, 310 total yards with an average of 4.7 yards per play. It was a performance that was far from perfect but certainly good enough to get a win over a Top 5 team on the road.

Say what you want about the play-calling but the game plan was clear, attack the middle and the left side. It was a patient plan that produced the right results at just the right time.

Quarter Left Middle Right
1st  9 Plays/46 Yards 8 Plays/38 Yards 3 Plays/24 Yards
2nd 3 Plays/58 Yards 6 Plays/6 Yards 3 Plays/4 Yards
3rd 2 Plays/7 Yards 4 Plays/24 Yards 3 Plays/8 Yards
4th  6 Plays/57 Yards 13 Plays/50 Yards 2 Plays/20 Yards

With Lane Johnson filling in on the right side of Oklahoma's offensive line Josh Heupel chose to go after the right side of the Florida State defense behind the power of left tackle Donald Stephenson, left guard Gabe Ikard and center Ben Habern.

In Oklahoma's opening drive they only went to the right side of the field twice. They attacked the middle six times and the left seven times. The result was a 15-play/80-yard touchdown drive that could have set the tone for the game.

For some reason (I'd like to think that somehow it was strategy) Coach Heupel moved away from the left side of the field in the second quarter the result was 53 total yards for the quarter and having to settle for field goals when drives stalled inside the redzone. Oklahoma averaged 19-yards per play to the left side in the second quarter but only went there three times.

The Sooners stayed away from the left side again in the third and went scoreless for the quarter. However, with the game tied at 13-13 in the fourth Oklahoma returned to the left with a vengeance. They ran six plays to that side, averaging 9.5 yards per play, including the game clinching 37-yard touchdown pass from Landry Jones to Kenny Stills.

Position Grades

Offensive Line - Although Florida State only registered one sack they did create a turnover and sent Landry Jones scrambling several times. The FSU defensive line was physical and fast and yet the offensive line still managed to keep Jones upright for most of the night and allowed for Oklahoma to have a 3.7 yards per carry average. Overall Grade B+

Running Backs - The latest I've heard on Roy Finch is that he's struggling to adjust to a new position at the slot which is resulting in less playing time. It appears as if our skepticism over him actually moving away from running back is being answered with the truth that he's actually moving away from the running back position.

That said, Brennan Clay and Dominique Whaley ran strong and hard against Florida State. The two combined for 123 yards, setting the tone on the opening drive and icing the game on the final drive. Overall Grade B+

Receivers - What else could you say about Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills other than amazing. Even with the attention that Broyles drew he still grabbed seven catches for 55 yards including a 22-yard reception on third in twelve. The next play Jones hit Kenny Stills on the 37-yard game winner. Stills is waiting in the wings while Broyles is the star but this was clearly his night. His seven catches for 125 yards and the game clinching score were "Sooner" magical. Overall Grade A+

Quarterback - Landry Jones started hot and finished strong. In between he struggled but he walked off the field with a 23-13 win. It wasn't his best performance but it was also far from his worst. He was money in the fourth quarter. Overall Grade C